The mundane experience of everyday calorie trackers: Beyond the metaphor of Quantified Self
journal contributionposted on 14.03.2017, 10:03 by Gabija Didziokaite, Paula Saukko, Christian Greiffenhagen
In this article, we build on the work of Ruckenstein and Pantzar (2015), who have demonstrated how our understanding of self-tracking has been influenced by the metaphor of the Quantified Self (QS). To complicate this very selective picture of self-tracking, we shift the focus in understanding self-tracking from members of the QS community to the experiences of ‘ordinary man and woman’ (Bakardjieva and Smith, 2001). We, therefore, interviewed ‘everyday calorie trackers’, people who had themselves started using MyFitnessPal calorie counting app but were not part of any tracking community. Our analysis identifies three main themes – goals, use and effect – which highlight the mundane side of self-tracking, where people pursuing everyday, limited goals engage in basic self-tracking and achieve temporary changes. These experiences contrast with the account of self-tracking in terms of long-term, experimental analysis of data on the self or ‘biohacking,’ which dominates the QS metaphor in the academic literature.
- Social Sciences
- Communication, Media, Social and Policy Studies